I am now retired ,my working life was spent in Sales & Marketing it is a profession mainly looked down upon because of the snobbery of the class system in Britain.
Indeed you are only assumed to have ‘achieved’ in UK if you are in one of the recognised professions.
Yet if you were to investigate most organizations that have sales personnel they will be the biggest earners,fanciest cars ,nicest clothes highest salaries,but highest earners by way of commissions on sales,there is a reason for that.
They are also usually disliked in a company ,especially by those with a degree that can only earn a fraction of the salespersons income.
Check out all our legislatures and you will find the largest % of professions elected tend to be lawyers,including our wonderful F.M.
You will find very few salespeople ,in fact probably none , most Constituency Assoc ,of ALL Parties do not want to select a Salesperson they prefer the Professional he must be smarter goes the theory.
Anas is an example of a guy with a degree ,need I say more?
Parents in our society want their children to go to Uni ,and qualify as Doctors,Lawyers, Vets, Teachers, etc.
( I purposely omitted Dentists,you want a dentist and instead get a dumpling)
Not often do you hear parents hoping that their offspring will develop into super Sales and Marketing Executives.
However in the real world and especially in the Independence struggle I would suggest we need more Sales & Marketing gurus and less lawyers and social science graduates setting strategy.
The “bible” for the most successful sales people I have ever known is Sun Tzu , The Art of war in Business.
It sets out certain principles and strategies that are great building blocks for success.
Someone once said that Politics is just acting for ugly people.
I contend that it is Sales & Marketing for a lot of people with no sales & marketing experience or training.
We have a Product ,Independence , we have a brand SNP to sell that product ,and we have a CEO ,Nicola Sturgeon and her board of Directors ,her Cabinet.
We have lots of workers ,they are called members and they each have a Sales Territory called a Constituency to sell that Independence product.
We do have some sales material , it is referred to as a Manifestos ,or leaflets ,we can call them Sales Brochures.
Any half decent salesman will tell you “nobody ever buys off of a brochure” and they are in the main correct.
If it was that simple all the Double Glazing and Insurance companies would just pop a brochure through your letterbox and wait for the phone to ring.
They don’t of course, they back up these leaflets through your letter box by employing the highest paid members of their organization the much maligned and disliked salesman to come and knock on your door and tell you of the virtues of his or her product.
The Salesperson ,a good one that is ,is the the most important piece in the overall jigsaw, you can have the best product in the world ,however if that product remains on the shelf you make no money and go out of business.
These Salesmen and women earn their money the hard way, one of the tasks that most people dislike intensely is the absolute kernel of the successful sale it is called Cold Calling , we refer to it as Canvassing.
Branch Organisers everywhere know that is the hardest job to get filled come Election time.
Just as you would not expect an untrained salesperson to get many sales an untrained canvasser can lose you votes.
Only the best will do for that role, it takes a special person to do it well.
When the prospective buyer has had the sales brochure,heard the TV Advert we call that the PPB ,the Party Political Broadcast.
That in military terms is the shock and awe ,the shelling of the beaches before the infantry ,or salesperson arrives with bayonet attached.
Now this battlefield can be the doorsteps , the street stall, the school gate ,the pub ,the gym,anywhere where people congregate.
If our soldier / salesperson is properly trained and committed that is where we will win the Independence war.
It will not be won in Holyrood ,certainly not Westminster ,the TV Studios ,or in the foreign owned Press.
A good soldier knows his own weapons blindfolded,he knows his own strengths and weaknesses,more importantly he knows his opponents even better than they do.
First Principle of Sun Tzu “Know the enemy and know yourself and in a hundred battles you will never be in peril”
Simply put we must educate ourselves in all policies and counter arguments,so that when a rabid Unionist starts their doom and gloom we have the answers at the ready to kill that line of attack stone dead. You must know their lines of attack as well as our own. So listen when they bang on about GERS ,or Currency,NHS ,Education, prepare yourself with a good fact based referenced counter argument. Knowledge is power.
Second Principle “ Capture your target without destroying it”
Again this is straightforward if you win the debating point by means of humiliating , or shouting down your opponent you may win the skirmish you have just lost the voter forever, and possibly anyone merely observing the confrontation.
Good Sales is the gentle art of conversation ,not as many wrongly perceive all about gift of the gab,and talking your prospect into submission.
Indeed the very best salespeople are those that listen,and answer genuine concerns, we have two ears and only one tongue.
If you listen you might find that the No Voter is so because of a simple fact you can answer,because you learnt all the policies,all the arguments for and against and can easily and confidently rebut scaremongering lies.
Third Principle. “. Avoid your enemies strength and put your maximum strength against their weakest point.
When you are going to canvas to gain new converts go for the low hanging fruit, our best demographic is the old SLAB strongholds , not the Morningside ,or Newton Mearns biggest houses. Only when you have total command and larger forces than your enemy do you attack the citadel. Just think how long it took for us to get Glasgow.
Fourth Principle. “ Use speed and preparation to swiftly overcome your enemy”
To fully exploit foreknowledge is key and speed does not mean unnecessary haste . It is all about preparation and planning
You have all heard the saying ” Piss poor planning makes for piss poor performance”
Prepare now, choose your location for meetings the places you think street stalls will be most effective.
Have you got enough people to leaflet, is there an affordable location to have a hub?
You need NCOs to oversee leafleting ,one to take charge of canvas teams and results, someone in charge of Getting out the Vote.
Another to take charge of a hub if you can afford one,get these people now prepare ,plan practice.
The areas you want to canvas ,who are your canvassers ,are they trained ,if not get someone in to do that training.
My advice don’t bring in a 20 Something from the Party find a good old hard bitten salesperson in your own branch,or Constituency they will be much better and have greater knowledge on cold calling than any SPAD.
Fifth Principle. When one treats people with benevolence, justice,righteousness and reposes confidence in them ,the army will be united in mind and all happy to serve the cause”
It takes a special kind of “leader” to implement these strategies and unite the members ,you have to find amongst your group someone that all can rally behind that has the vision and commitment to ensure whenever Nicola fires that starting gun your little Scottish Patriots platoon is ready for the trenches.
Sixth Principle. “ Therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him”
Use alliances and strategic local factors to shape our opponents and make them conform to our will.
E.G. If you live in area threatened with Fracking you lead on that you make common cause with Greens,and local environmentalists and instead of letting Unionists talk about ,too stupid ,too poor ,too weak they are forced to defend their policy of greed and £££ over the environment and real people’s lives.
There are so many more that could be mentioned these I think are good basics to implement and start to prepare for the coming Referendum,don’t for one second believe the foreign owned media and broadcasters Nicola has not retreated one inch she is I suggest merely keeping her powder dry.